On March 4th, Montreal recording artist Tiga will release his third album, No Fantasy Required, a masterwork of forward-listening insanity. To find out more, we went straight to the eloquent horse-owner himself, getting him to open all the way up about the process that has made him a dance music icon for well over a baker’s decade.
“First of all, I never talk about the music itself,” he says from a youth hostel in Calgary. “It’s borderline sacrilegious to talk about the grooves. They have a language all their own, the grooves do. I just birth them and send them out into the world to make others happy. And that’s what makes me happy, and that’s what makes you happy.”
1) NO FANTASY REQUIRED
“This is perhaps the emotional centerpiece of the album, as it deals with my relationship with the fantasy world of love, pop music, and imagination itself. I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve managed to make escaping into Tiga World an option, not a necessity like it is for so many others. It was written with Clarian North, an exceptionally talented musician and the piano to my Elton John and Bernie Taupin.”
2) MAKE ME FALL IN LOVE
“The song finds me flirting with the dangers of mainstream pop dance success, a mortal threat to first-world integrity. But I ended up getting my longtime collaborator Jake Shears to record his vocal on a phone while he was wearing a thong on a boat. So I remain confident that no matter how many crowds I please, I am incapable of doing it in any way but my own, accruing musical capital from famous people writhing away on expensive yachts.”
3) 3 RULES
4) HAVING SO MUCH FUN
5) TELL ME YOUR SECRET
“One thing people may have a hard time believing about me is that I’m a great listener and confidant. This song has gone through many versions, and all of them have gotten friends to share their most intimate secrets with me, which I will never tell another soul, not even to make a press release marginally more interesting.”
“Made with approximately one-half of Paranoid London, this is perhaps the quintessential example of how I work. Identify a potential collaborator and get them into the studio for a few hours. You have no choice but to perform, or at least have enough dips and snacks around to make the experience feel worthwhile.
Lyrically, it was inspired by Chris from the Martinez Brothers. I asked him if he was doing good, and he replied, “Always.” So I decided to phrase the question in as many ways as I could think of so that the answer would always be always, or at least “25/7, mate.”
7) PLANET E
“This was a collaboration with Hudson Mohawke, another kindred spirit I identified and subsequently befriended. We worked on it while waiting for a cab at the airport. The rest of the details are blurry; all I have in my notebook on Hudson for that day is “Young, hip-hop – really good friends.” These kind of limitations are intentional; alone you can deliberate forever. But when you have to make someone else happy, all the personal anxieties go out the airport window and onto some baggage loader. Let him worry about staying current in an ever-evolving dance music landscape.”
This was written the day before Bowie’s passing. I’ve chosen to leave it in because he still represents my ultimate private barometer for greatness. – Tiga
“The oldest song on the album, and I feel the most representative of what I do. If I ever got the chance to sit next to David Bowie on a plane by buying out the rest of Premium Economy Class with my air miles, this is the song I’d play for him after an ice-breaker about the Duty Free Catalog, probably singing something like, “THERE’S A SKYMAAALLLLL, WAITING IN THE SKY.” And we’d laugh and laugh.”
“You know this one. It’s been heard by millions, and even appeared in a commercial for apples. I had to buy a new house to store all the free bushels. Unlike my other hits, I knew it was destined for success from the beginning. I talk much more extensively about the song in an interview I did with a magazine made exclusively for Bugatti owners. You should look into buying one and checking it out. Definitely worth it.”
10) DON’T BREAK MY HEART
“When people tend to think of you as a Living Fun Machine, I think they assume that my wild heart just can’t be broken. But the fact is there are many things that can silence the bells on my jester’s hat. Injustice, for instance. Strife is a big one.
In any event, this served as the emotional apex of my first-ever live shows. You could see the tears blending with the beads of sweat on people’s faces, which as someone who never cries or sweats told me a lot about what I was doing for these people.”
11) BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN
“The final song on the album picks up on the same theme as the opener. It was written at a time when I was dealing with the sadness and frustration that come with adulthood and responsibility, especially when reminded of the careless wonder of my youth. But I was able to reconcile these two worlds, and what emerged wasn’t a ‘track’ or an attempt at a genre exercise, but an actual song. And that’s how I know that despite my weird and specific talents and weaknesses, I’ve evolved into someone who can write songs about my life, and hopefully in a way that will resonate with others. And that means the world to me.”